Union To Campaign Against South Western Railway Cuts

RMT says attack on services, jobs and pay worst since the sixties

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The RMT is launching a campaign against what it describes as “swingeing cuts” on South Western Railway (SWR). The union is describing the timetable changes as an attack on rail services, jobs and pay unseen since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

SWR and Network Rail have launched a stakeholder consultation that proposes to cut 15 per cent of peak and off-peak services across the SWR Network from December 2022.

The RMT says these service cuts are a Government-led cost-cutting exercise to reduce services and ultimately jobs on the railways. It believes cuts to services will only serve to drive more people into their cars and onto already congested roads.

The RMT has started a petition which can be signed by clicking here.

The changes will see a reduction of 13% of peak services into London and a 14% cut if off peak service and mainline suburban trains from December 2022.

SWR claims the changes are designed to increase the reliability of services into Waterloo. They are part of a broader reduction in services which the train company says are being introduced as the experience during the pandemic confirmed to it that running fewer trains increases reliability.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said, “We’re launching this campaign to send a clear message to private train operators and the Government that RMT will simply not accept any cuts to services and attacks on jobs and pay on the railway.

"It wasn’t long ago that the Government promised they were going to “reverse the Beeching cuts” but with these proposals they are trashing that promise and instead preparing to unleash Beeching two on our railways.

"These cuts to services are regressive, short-sighted and embarrassing for the Government. In the year that the UK hosts vital climate talks at COP26 cutting rail services is sending a terrible message that public transport is expendable and not an essential part of the solution to the climate crisis.”

RMT will be launching the “No Cuts on SWR!” campaign at 8:00am on Monday 13 September at Waterloo Station. A week of action will follow with events at Woking, Waterloo, Richmond, Weymouth, Bournemouth and Southampton.

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September 10, 2021